Social media isn’t just about catching up with friends and following the latest trends anymore. What began as a pastime activity has now become a vital tool in the search for the perfect job, and with more people applying for the same position, showing employers what makes you stand out from the crowd has become essential. So, whether you’re looking for your first role, stepping up the career ladder or making a career change, social media can open doors to job opportunities.
Identify Key Social Media Platforms
Facebook and Twitter might be the best-known social networks, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best platforms for job hunters. Instead spend time searching for online communities that relate to your interests – they’re great for sharing expertise, finding jobs and keeping up to date with the industry.
And there are plenty of them out there. Translators Café and Proz.com are two online bases for freelance translators and agencies, providing the link to good, solid freelance work and full-time in-house positions. Likewise, Caroflot is a great site for designers, and offers freelancers the chance to create their own online portfolios to showcase their work, while scouring the job board for perfect positions.
Dice is a nifty starting point for anyone working in IT services, with plenty of career advice on how to progress in the industry. Even the Human Resource sector has found its own community – HR Portal – and is making the most of sharing online.
These sites are US focused, but there are great equivalents around the world. Designer Week, for example, is a UK based designer recruitment site with news, job listings and hot-topic vox pops.
Keep Up With Larger Social Media Platforms
Although industry specific communities are great, it’s still important to keep an eye on the bigger social media platforms and to maintain online profiles. LinkedIn should be treated like an online resume– always remember to keep it updated, upload a photo and join groups that relate to your sector. And don’t be shy in asking colleagues to recommend your skills, especially for a project you’re particularly proud of. An active profile on LinkedIn will help you connect to recruiters in your industry.
Twitter and Google+ are good for gaining key insights into your sector – and remember, it’s these nuggets of information that will set you apart from other applicants. Look to follow industry influencers, get involved in their conversations and share information. Google+ Conversations are great for open discussions about topics, while Google+ Hangouts facilitate group video chats.
Tweetups are also great for building online friends and creating strong links to the industry. Held in cities across the county, they’re great networking opportunities, often in relaxed environments. If there isn’t a Tweetup in your area and you know there’s an appetite for the topic, then perhaps consider creating your own to take the lead and build your credibility on Twitter.
Think People, Not Jobs
With the help of social media, job seekers can now look beyond a company brand and seek out the right contacts for a position. Find the online profiles of the Human Resource managers or the heads of the department that you’re interested in working for and consider contacting them online. Being proactive and getting your resume in before there’s a position can be very effective. Not only does it give a company an applicant for future roles, but it shows that you’re passionate about the business, not just the pay-packet.
Be Passionate Online
Social media gives job seekers a megaphone, an audience and an opportunity to scream about what makes them different and right for a position. So make sure you’re being as passionate online as you can be. If you’re into design, think about creating your own website – they can be very effective, and are your chance to demonstrate your flair and visual creativity.
Consider a blog, especially if your role involves writing, and create content that focuses on current topics and demonstrates your ideas and opinions. Before you’ve even got to the interview stage, you’ve proven your ability and writing style, and hopefully got yourself one step closer to that dream position.
You’ve Got to Give to Receive
At the heart of social media, any type, whether it’s for personal use or work, is a two-way conversation; you have to give to receive. These social media platforms offer a chance to engage in the sector you’re interested in – so why not answer questions, put forward creative ideas or simply be part of the buzz. It all helps to build your online profile and demonstrate that you are an expert in your field.